Election sees staff running for office

Four people are running for two general seats on Joplin’s City Council. Missouri Southern’s Bob Harrington is one of them.

Harrington, director of the physical plant, chose to run around December or January.

“I knew the election was coming up,” Harrington said. “I thought I’d like to get involved with it. Several people in the community said I should run for it. So I decided it was worth a shot.”

Before putting his name in, Harrington wanted to get the OK with University President Julio León.

Harrington has lived in Joplin for 25 years. In that time, he worked as facility manager at St. John’s Regional Medical Center for 20 years, and the last five years he has been at Southern.

“I have been very active in the community,” Harrington said.

He said he has served with most of the civic organizations in Joplin, including the United Way, The Ronald McDonald House and the historical society. He has also sat on the boards of several of these organizations.

Harrington also has served on two major task forces for the City of Joplin. He chaired the task force that dealt with Memorial Hall and he served on the sales tax proposal task force.

“They (city officials) know me to be honest, hard-working and able to get the job done,” Harrington said.

He said he has received “quite a bit” of community support. He has raised approximately $2,800 for his campaign from contributions.

For his campaign, Harrington has met with several civic groups and organizations. He has also attended functions held by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce “to talk to people.”

“I’ve been very encouraged with it (campaigning),” Harrington said.

He said the people he has talked to on campus have been supportive, but he has not asked the University or anyone at the University to help him with his campaign.

He said he has also attended two public candidate forums. The first was with the Southwest Missouri Rental Housing Association. He said the association gave the candidates an opportunity to speak then asked them questions that were a concern to the association.

The second forum was held March 23 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Judy Stiles, general manager of KGCS, moderated. The forum was broadcast on KGCS.

The other candidates are incumbent Councilman Jim West, Guy Palmieri and John Phillips.

Harrington said West is “obviously a strong candidate” for the seats since he is seeking his third term.

West said having several candidates is what democracy is all about.

“I support anyone running for City Council,” West said.

Palmieri is a retired general who has lived in Joplin for 10-12 years, Harrington said.

“He (Palmieri) seems to be a very competent gentleman,” Harrington said.

Harrington said Phillips is a construction electrician who works with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 95. He has lived in Joplin for 30 years.

The election will be Tuesday.